Fri, Feb 09, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Lee reaffirms his stance that Taiwan is `independent'

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) yesterday challenged the Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) quest for Taiwanese independence, arguing that the country was already independent and that the governing party should concentrate its efforts on running the country and improving people's livelihoods.

TSU DINNER

"You [the DPP] are already an independent government with the country's future and people's happiness in your hands. Is it necessary to seek independence? Who are you seeking independence from?" Lee said last night while addressing a Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) dinner party at the Gloria Prince Hotel in Taipei.

Lee's speech was the latest in a series of attempts to explain himself in the face of mounting opposition after an article in the Chinese-language Next Magazine last month quoted him as saying that he had never been an advocate of official independence for Taiwan.

OPPOSITION TO KMT

Chronicling the history of the nation's quest for independence in his speech, the former president and KMT chairman defined Taiwan's independence as opposition to the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government's suppression since the 228 incident in 1947.

As KMT suppression had come to an end with the election of a DPP government in 2000, the goal of seeking Taiwan's independence has been achieved, Lee said.

"What's confusing is that the reason for seeking independence is gone, but the DPP still lists Taiwan's independence as its core value" he said.

"Seeking Taiwan's independence has become a fake issue that doesn't really exist," he said.

FOCUS ON ECONOMY

While reassuring supporters that changing the country's name and engineering a new constitution for Taiwan remain his goals in "making Taiwan a normal country," Lee urged both the DPP and the KMT to drop the debate over independence.

He said the parties should devote themselves to addressing issues affecting the nation's economic development and the daily lives of the people.

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